Masthead CMC Magazine September 1, 1995 / Page 2


Will They Come?

by John December (

It has been an interesting month.

Microsoft launched its Windows '95 operating system (in case you didn't notice) and also its new network, the Microsoft Network (MSN). Microsoft has repeatedly denied that MSN will have any advantage over the current commercial online services, and disingenuously claims MSN will be lucky to attract a million subscribers in the first year. However, Microsoft's depth of penetration into the operating system market for personal computers assures it a place on many desktops. MSN will certainly be a major presence online.

But what of the steady (or unsteady?) march of technology that Windows '95 represents? In many cases, users of the previous version of Microsoft's operating system, Windows 3.1, have to purchase new hardware (more RAM, microprocessors with higher clock speeds) for their computers to run Windows '95. The resulting fallout of purchases of new hardware and software by consumers is expected to be nearly US$5 billion over the next year. Is this new technology necessary? Is this progress?

Windows '95 does have some interesting features as Bill Gates has demonstrated. But is Windows '95 another example of technology driving a market, rather than human needs driving technology?

I explore the issue of technological change in online communication in a brief essay calling for articles for a special issue of CMC Magazine devoted to technological determinism I'm planning for early next year.

Also in this issue, Charles Ess calls for articles for a special issue of CMC Magazine that he will edit focusing on philosophical perspectives of free speech in CMC environments.

Please consider writing or assisting in reviewing submitted articles for these issues.

This Issue

In this issue, we take a look at the meaning of the word "cyberspace" in Mick Doherty's essay, Marshall McLuhan Meets William Gibson in 'Cyberspace'. Mick questions whether cyberspace even exists.

We also have a book review which critiques a book that is critical of the current state of "Internet-hype." Rory McGreal reviews Clifford Stoll's book, Silicon Snake Oil.

This critical stance is the thread running through several offerings in this month's issue: a questioning of technology itself. is Windows '95 really a Big Deal? Or is it just technology in search of a buyer? [CMC TOC]

John December is publisher of CMC Magazine.

Copyright © 1995 by John December. All Rights Reserved.

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